I mentioned in my last post that we’d taken a rain-check on our plans to travel this week. The upside to that is not dying! But one major downside is not being able to visit Biddulph Grange in Staffordshire on our way back.
This once stately ‘big house’ is home to the most wonderful Victorian gardens I’ve ever seen. They’re laid out as a series of ‘rooms’, each with a different nationality including China, Egypt, and Italy, as well as a Dahlia Walk, a rock garden and a ‘stumpery’. I last went as a 20-something with my parents many years ago but the gardens made such an impression on me that I still have fond memories of them, and even used them as inspiration for the backdrop to my paranormal romance December Roses.
When I say ‘many years ago’ I really mean it. The visit pre-dated the advent of digital photography and all I have is a handful of rather poor photographs taken on a film camera, which probably wouldn’t even scan properly. So ever since I re-wrote and re-published December Roses I’ve been hoping to get back to the gardens and take as many pictures as possible, particularly of some of the gardens that feature in the book.
Needless to say that hasn’t been possible during the pandemic, but now travel is permitted again and we wouldn’t even need to book tickets to get into the garden (which is now owned, as in my book, by the National Trust). Now we won’t be in the area after all, and I’ll have to make more plans to visit at some point in the future, hopefully later in the year but before the property closes for its winter break.
In the meantime, here’s a single photo of the Chinese garden – complete with the bridge and bells which play a part in December Roses, which I cheerfully nicked from wheretogowithkids.co.uk. It’s only a small hint of the glories of this amazing garden but will hopefully give you some idea why I chose this location as the main setting for my book.
It’s so cool that you feature real locations in your book. I myself enjoy taking new places I’ve visited as inspiration, and it’s so much fun to weave your life’s experiences into your stories.
I love new places too and they quite often inspire stories or even whole books. 🙂